Can Yucatan break the Melbourne Cup favourites curse?

Herbert Power Stakes winner Yucatan is the Melbourne Cup favourite. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

LLOYD Williams-owned Yucatan is set to jump as the shortest priced favourite for the Melbourne Cup ($4.50 at Sportsbet) since Makybe Diva won her third Cup in 2006.

Following a dominant display in the Group 2 Hubert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 13, the Irish invader has been set for a tilt at the race that stops a nation, even bypassing the Caulfield Cup in order to be cherry ripe for the Melbourne Cup.

While the market has underlined the horse’s name since that barnstorming win, racing expert Francesca Cumani told Melbourne radio station RSN on Tuesday that the public need to pump the breaks on the Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper.

“I think Yucatan Ire, everyone’s just got carried away with him,” Cumani said.

“On European form he’s definitely not the best-performed horse of the internationals.

“When he came here it was an actual masterclass [from James McDonald].

“The race slowed down mid-race and then James just let his horse keep rolling at a nice tempo. He hit the front and then what was impressive was the way he managed to keep going and then he was eased down on the line. But that’s just an example of a European horse being able to use his stamina and maintain good fractions for a long way.

“If he can do that to that field, I just think there’s some others that’ll be even better.”

Yucatan, which was penalised 2kg for the Hebert Power Stakes win, has 54.5kg in the Cup and will again be ridden by James McDonald.

How have recent Melbourne Cup favourites fared?

It has been a barren wasteland for favourite backers over the last decade in the Melbourne Cup.

Just one favourite, Fiorente in 2013, has saluted in the Cup as the top elect, with Hartnell (2016) and So You Think (2010) the only other runners that have finished inside the money.

WATCH BELOW: Fiorente wins the 2013 Melbourne Cup

The Last 10 Melbourne Cup favourites & their finishing order


Horse Year Finishing Position Price
Marmelo 2017 9th $8.50
Hartnell 2016 3rd $5.50
Fame Game 2015 13th $5
Admire Ratki 2014 Retired $5.50
Fiorente 2013 First $7
Dunaden 2012 14th $7
Americain 2011 5th $5
So You Think 2010 Third $3
Alcopop 2009 6th $4.80
Mad Rush 2008 7th $5.50
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